CD Reviews

Micki Free - 'Tattoo Burn' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 18, 2012    
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Tune in, turn up and Rock out!

Lovers of Blues music, Blues based Rock and even Blues based Melodic Rock (Think Y&T or Europe) are really going to dig this album. Native American Grammy award winning and two-time Native American award winner Micki Free is an exceptional player and highly regarded in his field. (Bill Wyman, no less, guests on the live cut ‘Red House’, a slow 12-bar Blues cover originally recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience and subsequently covered by the likes of Johnny Winter, Leslie West, Slash and many others.

It’s a little known fact but those who remember him from his Crown Of Thorns days and – like myself – have seen him live, would be surprised to learn that he began his recording career with manufactured smooth 80’s disco/dance group Shalamar. By 1984 Shalamar had evolved into a new wave/synth-pop trio with Micki Free coming to the fore by adding Rock guitar to the mix and resulted in contributions to the hit movies ‘Footloose’ and ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ with a US Top 20 and Grammy award thrown in for good measure.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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For those not convinced of his Rock credentials he also formed the Micki Free Electric Blues Experience with ex Cheap Trick bassist Jon Brant and ex Boston drummer Curly Smith after the dissolution of Crown Of Thorns and still tours, plus he’s worked with Roger Taylor and Trevor Rabin and also recorded with the legendary Billy Gibbons. In fact Billy pops up on the title track giving it that oh so familiar ZZ groove as Micki slants a typical late 60’s/early 70’s infusion on proceedings. ‘Greens And Barbecue’ has a jazzy Blues effort embellished with a Fuzz tone solo whilst ‘Six Feet Down In The Blues’ couldn’t be more traditional and melancholic if it tried with particular understated emotion combined with piano and subtle Hammond organ accompaniment. ‘Mojo Black Coffee’ (Is Micki Free really a lover of New Zealand coffee?) is a typical 12-bar Blues with a dirty groove and contemporary lyrics topped off with some nice harmonica.

Elsewhere Micki has a clean guitar sound on ‘There’s A Hole In The Heart Of The Blues’ featuring a more tonal quality and some nice mellow picking on ‘Co-Co Gin’ with the lyric “She sipped from the flask of the co-co gin” suggesting a metaphorical approach...or otherwise? ‘Voodoo Chile Blues’ is Micki Free’s homage to Mr Hendrix and features seventeen minutes plus of funky bass, improvised drumming, Hammond interplay and elements of Cream with Mr Free’s Hendrix-style vocals all sugared and saturated by his guitar histrionics. His use of the wah wah pedal and distortion through his Fuzz tone box mixing arpeggios with a blistering solo that inculcates the entire proceedings would be worth the admission price live in concert alone. Suitably the finale ‘Five Minutes Till Christmas’ is a humourous Blues boogie that nicely rounds things off.

If you like your vodka mixed, your whiskey wet and your gin soaked then tune in, turn up and Rock out!

Carl Buxton

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